Punjab and Haryana High Court: In a case exposing callous attitude of authorities while dealing with drug menace in the State of Punjab, Meenakshi I. Mehta, J., observed that in some paras of the Statu sreports/Reply, the police officers concerned had mentioned the tablets, allegedly recovered as ‘CLAVIDOL-100 SR’ whereas in certain other paras the same had been described as ‘CLOVIDOL-100 SR’. Criticizing the lackadaisical attitude of officers, the Bench remarked,

“…the said discrepancy reflects nothing else but their callously casual approach towards their official duty which is least expected from them because they are duty bound to check the crime graph in the State specially in the circumstances when the drug menace has become deep rooted and is taking its toll like a slow poison for the young generation upon which every nation pins hopes for a bright and secure future.”

Factual Background

On receipt of secret information three persons were arrested under Sections 22, 25 and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. It was on their discloser statement that the contraband was supplied to them by the petitioner 1-Sandeep Kumar, the petitioner 1 was apprehended and 1500 Clovidol 100-SR tablets, packed in 150 strips and 600 white colour loose intoxicant tablets were recovered at his instance. On his disclosure statement the petitioner 2, Amit Sharma was also nabbed and 300 white colour loose intoxicant tablets recovered from him.

Urging for bail the petitioners contended that the sample of ‘CLAVIDOL 100-SR’ tablets, allegedly recovered from them was found to be containing ‘Pregabalin’ and the sample of the loose intoxicant tablets, contained ‘Tramadol Hydrochloride’ and the average weight of those loose tablets was reported to be 403.48 mg. The petitioners submitted the salt ‘Pregabalin’, as reportedly found in said 1500 ‘CLAVIDOL-100 SR’ tablets, does not fall within the purview of the Act and the total weight of the said 600 loose tablets, comes out to be 242.088 gms which was less than the commercial quantity of the said salt (Tramadol Hydrochloride), i.e 250 gms.

Observations and Order

Noticeably, the Trial Court had framed the charge against petitioners under Section 22 of the Act only for their having been found in possession of 600 and 300 loose tablets, containing ‘Tramadol Hydrochloride’, respectively, while specifically mentioning therein that 1500 tablets containing Pregabalin, as recovered from accused-petitioner Sandeep, do not fall within the purview of the Act and the petitioners have not been charge-sheeted under Section 29 of the Act meaning thereby that the Investigating Agency, in its own wisdom and also for the reasons best known to it, had not presented the Challan against both the petitioners under the said provision, i.e Section 29 of the Act.

Therefore, keeping in view the factum of the petitioners having been charge-sheeted under separate heads for the recovery of the said contraband and the period of their incarceration, the Bench granted bail to both the petitioners and ordered that the petitioners be released on regular bail.

Callous Conduct of Authorities

Further, noticing that the Assistant Commissioner Drugs, Food & Drug Administration had issued a letter to M/s Yorks Pharma for cancelling the permission to manufacture the formulations containing ‘Tramadol Hydrochloride’ salt including ‘CLAVIDOL 100-SR’ tablets, on account of the alleged contravention of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945, while further directing it to stop the manufacturing of all the drug formulations containing the said salt and observing that as per FSL reports, the ‘CLAVIDOL-100 SR’ tablets, i.e the tablets with the same brand name, contain ‘Pregabalin’, the Bench ordered that Department is supposed to check and supervise the manufacturing of the drugs in the State so as to ensure the strict compliance of the relevant law/Rules. The Bench remarked,

“Subsequent use of the same brand name, i.e ‘CLAVIDOL-100 SR’ by the above-said manufacturer for manufacturing the tablets containing a different salt is likely to lead to grave consequences as the same can result in serious health hazards for the patients as well as the public at large.”

However, on being reprimanded by the Court the authorities concerned had issued another letter to the afore-named manufacturer qua the cancellation of the permission granted to it for manufacturing the drug formulations containing ‘Pregabalin’.

Criticizing the conduct of on the part of the Authorities, the Bench stated,

“It is highly deplorable and it speaks volumes of their questionable acts and omissions which pose a serious challenge for the State in tackling with the drug menace which seems to be touching new heights with every passing day.”

[Sandeep Kumar v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 325, decided on 27-01-2022]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For Petitioner 1: Keshavam Chaudhari, Advocate

For Petitioner 2: Parminder Singh Sekhon, Advocate,

For the State: Samina Dhir, DAG

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